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Monday, June 30, 2014

S-girl Cuteness

I got a real laptop computer this year.

It is mine.

Mine, I tell you.

Little hands and even Rainman's big hands are banned unless there is an other words, unless there is blood involved from a family member.....and the bloody person had better not be the person looking up information!

Up until my laptop purchase, our whole family shared 1 old (yes, something purchased in 2009 is now considered "old") desktop computer.

I had 2 ancient laptops that I used in my life as a transcriber/minute taker.

They died long ago, but the kids have kept them to use when they are playing house.

Recently, I noticed S-girl sitting next to me looking deeply into her laptop.  She would look closely.  She would type something.  She would write something on her screen....yes, write something....with a pen.

(Apparently she was also looking like a crazy woman while she typed)

I will admit I freaked out a bit when I saw her using a pen on the screen.  Yes, I know the computers are dead and gone....somehow it just made me think that the kids would try to do it to our regular computer too.

Then I walked around to the other side of her and saw this.

It is her "Fathbook" page......taped to the screen.

And her "Pintrest" page.

Her "pins" crack me up.  I am assuming this is for a fashion/beauty page.

She has created numerous other replacement pages for her work and other on-line activities.  Honestly, she can play this game for quite awhile, just working away at her computer.


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Library and Educational Services - Go Science - Review

We got a chance to review some new videos published by Library and Educational Services called Go Science.

We have actually reviewed some of their other videos in the past.

The new videos are from the new Series 2 videos.

Library and Educational Service is a wholesaler for books, CD, and DVDs.  They sell to libraries, churches, schools, missionaries, day care centers....and homeschoolers.

The host/instructor in these videos is Ben Roy.  He has served as an elementary and middle school principal and teacher, earning the “Teacher of the Year” award for the Gordon County School System in Georgia. He has teacher certifications for both Tennessee and Georgia, and designs all his shows to implement state science objectives.  He has produced science videoes for numerous venues, including the Weather Channel and

There are 7 DVDs in this series.  

Volume 1: Sound, Gravity, Space
Volume 2: Life Science, Weather
Volume 3: Air
Volume 4: Motion, Friction, Electricity, Light
Volume 5: States of Matter, Water
Volume 6: Chemistry
Volume 7: Engineering, Design, Flight

We got to choose two for our family to watch.

We picked:

Volume Two - Go Science Life Science and Weather for Kids

One of the kids favorite segments was on this DVD when Mr. Roy took out various skulls of animals and discussed their eye placement and teeth and showed which they were predator or prey....and when he made the huge cloud with liquid nitrogen and hot water. ( I thought that one was really cool too!)


Volume Seven - Go Science Engineering, Design and flight for Kids

(Fun side note:  You might not be able to tell, but this is a picture of a girl standing on a carton of raw eggs - without breaking them.  A-man was thrilled to get to do this same experiment at VBS this year!)


Some of their favorites from this DVD was when he showed how to balance 10 nails on top of one nail and the one where they launched balls with a trebuchet (I loved that the kids  recognized that we had built a small trebuchet a few years ago in our homeschool....and that his huge one worked the same as our little one did).

The kids also liked any of the experiments and demonstrations where he shot anything into the air!

Here is an excerpt of what the videos are like.

Each DVD lasts about an hour and is full on, energetic science the whole time.  Ben Roy is nothing if not an energetic teacher.  Seriously.  This man is like the Christian version of Robin terms of pent up energy.....or the coolest grandpa ever!  (Honestly, I could see A-man becoming Mr. Roy's replacement when he grows up.  Science is his favorite subject and he gets really excited to tell people all about the new stuff he has learned.) 

This science series is unique in that it really comes from the perspective that "Every time we learn more about science we learn more about our creator, God."

The videos are comprised of little snippets of lessons where Mr Roy is presenting in front of a group of kids in matching yellow t-shirts.  He always has some kids come up and help him and get hands on with the experiments.  

These are fun videos to watch.  I will admit that since it summer, anything that remotely sounds like school takes some convincing to get my little darlings to cooperate.  I brought up watching the video a few times asking for voluntary viewing.  I failed.  So, I introduced the  involuntary viewing option.  Emoji

Ha.  I knew they would love them once they actually sat down and watched them.  There were choruses of "How did he do that?"  and "Awesome!  I want to try that!"

And, they actually did.  They tried a few of them.  A-man said that was the best part of the DVDs.....actually getting to try some of the science stuff!

Here is where they were working on their centrifuge or....a water pump.

We are also going to do the film canister rocket experiment.....once I can find my stash of film canisters.  (I know I have them somewhere.....yes, I suppose it shows my age.....but I didn't want to throw them away because I thought they would be good for something one day.  Now, that day is here,  I can't remember where I put them!)

They also desperately want to try the magnet to try to find iron in our breakfast cereal one too!  Not sure we can come up with a strong enough magnet for that one though.  (But, the kids did this one at VBS too!)  Honestly, it is kind of creepy that there are actually little shards of metal in the cereal we eat.

The DVDs are recommended for ages 4-12, but my opinion on that is that is should really be something like ages 3+, because I like them, and even though my 3 big kids didn't watch every minute of the videos, they thought they were cool too.

Each little lesson has a great little lesson woven into the science.  In the lesson about volume, Ben talked about things not always being what they seem and basically not to judge someone on how they look.  So, it isn't shoving "God stuff" down your throat, but just teaching good values - that just happen to be Biblical.

These videos are not hard core science.  Nor are they filled with hard core theological teaching.  

But, they are the perfect thing to get them more interested in science.  They peak your curiosity with the fun experiments (most of which you can actually try at home).  They can create the desire to dig deeper and understand the actual hard core science behind why things work the way they do.  

Hopefully, the emphasis on "Every time we learn more about science, we learn more about our creator, God." will also peak interest in learning more about God.

If you are interested in learning more about any of the Go Science DVDs  or Library and Educational Services, go check out the websites and these social media links:
Library and Educational Services Facebook Link - `
Library and Educational Services YouTube Channel (this has samples from the DVDs) -
These videos are available for $8.97 each, or you can get the entire set for $59.82.

What did other TOS Reviewers think of Go Science?  Take a look for yourself!

Monday, June 23, 2014

VBS Hangover

I have a VBS hangover.

In my wild and crazy life, that is the only kind of hangover I have these days.

Honestly, it doesn't depress me much.

The few times I did have an actual, old-fashioned kind of hangover was enough for me.

I am sure I have shared before that I have a love/hate relationship with VBS.

I have been in charge of music for the past few years.

I love it.  The kids are adorable.  The little ones trying to match my dance moves is adorable.  Their cute little voices singing (sometimes shouting) along is adorable.  It is fun. They are happy to see me (except sometimes the 5th grade boys aren't so thrilled with me).  I get lots of spontaneous hugs.  Introducing 106 little people to the fact that Jesus loves them and wants to work with them in their lives is fantastic.

I hate it too.  There are 106 little people talking when you are trying to teach.  There are 106 little people with different personalities and needs.  By the end of the week, there are 106 tired and cranky little people just waiting for the opportunity to have a meltdown.

It is exhausting.  Sure, I get my exercise from doing the dance moves and jumps over and over.

But, it is mentally exhausting too.

You see, I am, in fact, an introvert.

I can be an extrovert, when needed.

VBS is one of those times where being an extrovert is an advantage.

So, I pull out my latent extrovert tendencies.  I have them.  They are there deep inside of me.

I can pull out the frustrated actress in me.

The problem is that I get wiped out after my 3 hours of VBS.

By the end of the week, I have had a blast with these 106 little people and my brain is in a fog from having to be the bubbly, perky music director.  You know?

So, this week, life it back to normal at our house.

The house is a real mess, because last week when we walked in the door, I would announce to everyone that I didn't care what they did, as long as it was quiet.  I even encouraged them.....yes....encouraged watch much as they wanted.

That meant that the house fell apart around my ears....and I hardly cared.

But, this morning I care.....but, I have a VBS hangover, so I am moving in slow motion, clutching my head and wondering why the arches of my feet are still so sore.

But, I have made a start.

I have made lists.

Lots and lots of lists.

Lisst for me.

Lists for the kids.

I am going to be happy with that.

Lists are good.

Plans are good.

Coffee is really good.

Now, I just need a few of Rivet's arms and I will be good to go.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

What Northerners Don't Understand About Porch Swings

When I lived in Minnesota, I didn't know anyone who had a porch swing.

I did know a few lucky people who had screened in porches.

But, nobody with a porch swing.

I suppose it could be because being outdoors in Minnesota is not always the most pleasant undertaking. One time of the year it is because of the snow and ice and the rest of the year it is because of......mosquitoes.

I did know a few lucky people who had screened in porches, and a few people that had wooden free standing swings out in their yards. My parents actually got one of those when I was in high school.

But, the northern version of these outdoor, grown up, swings were big chunky, log type structures.  Very at home in the woods and lakes of Minnesota.  In theory, they are a fantastic idea.

But, here, in the south, they have porch swings.

Smaller, delicate grown up swings, that hang from chains.....not logs.

Honestly, I remember seeing porch swings in movies and t.v. shows, like The Andy Griffith show, and having romantic visions of sitting out there with a sweetheart, holding hands, exchanging a few smooches.  Maybe even receiving a wedding proposal while swinging....he would drop down to one knee in front of me........

My mind was equally divided between thinking having a porch swing would be magical.....and, how unrealistic it was for people to actually sit on their porches in the spring and summer time....drinking mint juleps, or whatever unrealistic southern people drink.  (For the record, I have now learned that they would be drinking sweet tea or Coke....not mint juleps.)


Ridiculous, even.

Again, I plead mosquitoes.  If you have never lived in Minnesota, you don't understand.  The thought of sitting on my porch swing with that special buzz in my ears and slapping my shiny skin, that smells like Off, didn't sound appealing.

The idea, however, of  having a porch swing was magical.

But, I thought it was a kind of T.V. magic......unrealistic.  You know the kind of T.V. magic, where people don't lock their doors and nobody wakes up with morning breath, smudged mascara, creases in their face, or crazy unibomber hair.

Yes, unrealistic T.V. magic.

A pipe dream.

When we first moved to Georgia, we had a pool.  We even had a screened in porch. But, no porch swing.

At our new house, we have NO pool, but we do have a porch swing.

When we made the offer for the house, I actually asked for it to be included in the sale of the house.   They agreed.

Let me tell you, what I have discovered at our new house.

I was right.

Porch swings are magical.

T.V. magic is sometimes.....real.

Porch swings are wonderful and peaceful.

I love it.

I sneak out there when I need a moment away from the chaos inside our home.

I sit out there, balance my coffee on the porch railing, and read a book.

I watch the deer across the street.

I feel the breeze blow.

I watch the squirrels chase each other.

Sometimes, I just......swing.  I don't do anything.  I don't think deep thoughts.  I just....swing.

I have to admit that most of the time, I prefer to sit alone on the swing because then I can control the speed and frequency of the actual swinging (goodbye romantic notions of my teen years).

I will be sitting on the swing and eventually, a kid or two will find me and plop down in the chairs we have out there, and just chat with me.....if more than 2 kids show up, I scootch over and share the swing.

I love it....even if my initial reason for being on the porch was to sneak away from chaos.

When my mother-in-law was staying with us recently (recovering from falling and breaking her pelvis)....our porch was just one small step down, so she could come sit and get some fresh air everyday.

Life just slowed down.

We just sat.

Sometimes we talked.

Sometimes we would just sit and wait/hope for the leaves to move so we could feel the breeze.

D-man sits out there with J-girl.  They face each other and chat, one leg under them and one leg dangling over the edge, slowly pushing the swing.

L-girl now uses it to get away for some quiet reading time.

When this little guy was visiting us.....

I took him out the porch swing and sat with him.....just sat......he took turns looking at the leaves and looking into my face to make sure I was an okay person for him to trust....while I just slowly swung back and forth assuring him that I loved him and he was safe.....until he believed me and snuggled in and fell asleep.

Magical, I tell you.

We are getting to the point, weather-wise, that it is hard to sit outside....even in the shade......during the daytime hours.

But, I have discovered I like to sit out there as the sun is setting and watch the lightning bugs flashing in the yard.....sometimes that is peaceful and other times it is chaotic, because my littles are scurrying around trying to catch the lightning bugs to use as nightlights in their bedrooms.  Either way.....I am happy.

I have learned that the south might have bigger, scarier looking bugs than Minnesota.  But, the mosquitoes here are NOTHING compared to Minnesota.  I have never had the feeling  that I was being eaten alive like I did in Minnesota.

So, we sit out there at dusk.

We sit out there at night.

We sit out there in the morning.

In the fall and winter, I will once again, sit out there during normal business hours. Emoji

Last winter, I  just took a little lap blanket and a cup of tea - sort of like a little old lady - I know.  But, it was cozy and relaxing.

It just slows down my life.

I fit on it sideways, so I can lounge with my feet up and watch the trees.  I need a pillow to do that for long periods of time though....the chain sort of digs into my back.

I have made one small change to make me love my porch swing even more....

I just need some cute and comfy pillows and it will be just about perfect.

The magic is real.

Northerners can't possibly understand how magical having a good, old fashioned, porch swing can be.

Honestly, they can't.

There are just too many mosquitoes up there.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

We Choose Virtues - Review

This is the second time we have gotten to review a We Choose Virtues product.  The first time we got to try the We Choose Virtues Clue Cards.

This time around, we got to try out the NIrV  Parenting Cards plus a download bundle. (Teacher Manual, Family Character Assessment, Sing Along, Butterfly Award,  Kids of Virtueville coloring book)  You can also get these in the King James Version which uses only Old Testament verses for inspiration.

I loved the clue cards we got to use last time around....but we were sort of hard of them.  They are small and easy to bend and lose.....which we did.

The Parenting Cards are much bigger.  A smidgen over 5 x 8.

The whole premise of the We Choose Virtues product is building "character" for ages 3 to 18. This product was designed for kids in the early elementary years. ....3 to 11 or so.  (I will tell you that we had some success in our kids and maybe a grown up too.... that were well beyond the early elementary years...more on that later!)

The Teacher Handbook that came as a download with the physical cards, starts out with this...

Are you ready to make moral courage as important as physical courage?

Think about that one question for a bit and let it sink in.

Moral courage is hard.

Physical courage is hard too, but usually when you are trying to have physical courage, there are people there cheering you on and telling you that you can do it.  Like, ride that scary roller coaster or to jump into the pool without floaties for the first time.  There are encouragers and when you succeed, there is much celebration  and woo-hooing!

Now, think about having moral courage.

Where are the cheerleaders?

Where are the encouragers?

Where is the celebration when you do the right thing?


That is why I think moral courage and doing the right thing....just because it is the right harder than physical courage/bravery.

We Choose Virtues helps parents (and teachers) start encouraging moral courage while we are young.  They make it really easy to get started through the Teacher's Manual with 4 easy steps.

1.  Expect Excellence
2.  Explain with Enthusiasm
3.  Emphasize Everyday
4.  Examine Everyday

The author, Heather McMillian, goes quickly and easily through the concept behind the cards, how to introduce them to your children, and how to reinforce the lessons you are trying to teach them.  The Teacher's Manual is definitely written more for a typical classroom type setting, but as a homeschooler, or just a parent, I could easily adapt the concepts and activities to work for us as a family.

Before we began, I printed out the Family Character Assessment sheet, where you basically assess yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 for each character trait.  For example, for Self Control, you would grade yourself on the scale between "I am wild, rowdy, disorderly, I expect others to control me, I am bossy towards others" and "I make myself do the right thing."

My original intent was to fill one out for each child....but after reading through them, I decided I had a pretty good idea, as their mom, which traits my little people needed to work on.  I was also a little afraid that they would be overwhelmed by the assessment and come away feeling like they were horrible people.

So, I just used it as a scale to remind me of what kinds of behaviors were my goal for them....which, in turn, would become their personal goals.

I went a little off book from the Teacher's Manual.  (Yes, I am sure you are shocked!)

The manual recommended focusing on one word a day, as a team...or class.  I decided to take a more individualized approach....but together as a team.

So, I picked a word for each of my 3 littles and we read through the card and talked about it and I gave examples of what the word meant to them....but the other 2 were also sitting there listening to the word I had chosen for the others.

Make sense?

I was a little nervous about this way, because I didn't want it to end up being a way they could bully each other about what words I picked for them.  But, I didn't need to worry.  They actually helped me with examples of each word and even if they helped point out that their brother or sister wasn't using their "word", it was always done in a nice way.  (At least in front of me....)

The Teacher's Manual gave a lot of ideas for activities you could do to really reinforce the concepts of We Choose Virtues.  I found that our everyday life and activities gave us plenty of ways to reinforce the concepts.  But, the ideas were good ones, if you don't happen to have a houseful of kids!

Some of the downloaded material, I didn't use right away.  We used the coloring book and I used the Family Character Assessment.  I would have used the sing alongs if it wasn't Vacation Bible School time around here....I didn't want too many songs bouncing around in my head.  But, it is a cute idea....they have words that you sing to the music of other songs to help solidify the concepts in your head.  The Butterfly Award is just that a certificate you could give when you child really masters the character trait.

Okay, so how about these cards, huh?

The front of the card is intended for your student and the back is intended for the teacher.

Here is an example:

I would just read this aloud to whichever child I felt needed to work on this particular virtue, then hand it over to them to review.  (In this case, it was A-girl and her desire for more clothes, shoes, jewelry...  Emoji)

The back of the card shows this:

I liked the "What to say after I'm sorry"  and the teachable moments sections the most.

The Virtue User Challenge can get a little competitive.  Like the example on this one, is to challenge your entire family to try to go a whole day without saying "I want" or  "I am bored".

Honestly, the whole family got into trouble with this one recently when our little baby cousin came for a visit.

(How can you resist that little smoochable face?!?!?)

I started our downward spiral into being greedy and whiny.....with my declaration.....  "I want a baby!"  The kids all quickly agreed with me and Rainman, well.....he just smiled his secret little smile.  I took them all down with me!

Actually, it was an interesting moment for me, when I realized that my declaration about wanting a baby was an example of not being content.  Although the inspiration verse wasn't super me....

Psalms 131:2  I have made myself calm and content like a young child in it's mother's arms.  Deep down inside me, I am as content as a young child.

See why that particular word picture wasn't the most helpful?

.....content like a young child in it's mother's content as a a young child.....  Emoji

But, it did make for a good conversation between the kids and I.  Yes, I still want a baby....or, to be honest, more babies.....plural....but I am working on not being whiny with God.

Pictures like this don't help my cause....

...or like this....

But, it was a good reminder for me as I try to get the kids to work on their "words" that I too have virtues and character traits that I can improve on.

V-girl's word was Obedient.

She wants to be such an independent person that she struggles to do what I say....when I say it.  This was the perfect little reminder for her.  If I asked her to do something and she responded with "Just a minute", or "Wait, mom..."  I just had to say, "What is your word?"

She would say, "obedient" and happily run off to do whatever I had asked her.  When we first started this reinforcement, I would say, "What is your word?"  She would say, "Obedient".  Then, she would stand there and think a minute before saying, "What does that mean again?"  We would laugh a bit...I would tell her what it meant and she would trot off to do what I had asked.

The little catchphrase things were the most helpful thing to me on these cards.  The one for Obedient is ..."Okay, whatever you say, I will obey, right away."  She had that one memorized really quickly.

Since S-girl and A-man are older, I had them concentrate on 2 words.

For those of you that know S-girl, I know you will be surprised by these 2 words.  She is naturally a very gentle and kind person....unless you are a sibling that she feels has pushed her too far.  Then she is a raging, punching, bag of pretty little blue-eyed girl.  She really is like a completely different person.

These words gave us a way to discuss this and give her gentle reminders that even though her brothers and sisters are annoying and make her angry, she really does need to treat others how she wants to be treated and not resort to punching when she gets frustrated with them.

A-man's 2 words were....

A-man is a truth spinner. We all know it.  Sometimes we think it is funny.  The problem is it has become a bad habit for him, so that he sometimes can't make himself actually tell the truth.  He doesn't know why.  He wants to tell the truth....he just can't seem to make himself do it the first time.  I loved his Bible verses....because underneath all his bluster and bravado, he has a tender heart that wants to do the right thing....always.

Psalms 34: 12-13  Do you love life and want to see many good days?  Then keep your tongue from speaking evil.  Keep your lips from telling lies.

Romans 8:9  But your sinful nature does not control you.  The Holy Spirit controls you.  The Spirit of God lives in you.  

As with S-girl....these cards and their words were just a gentle reminder for them to pay attention and try harder.

Like I mentioned above, these cards are designed for the early elementary years, but our whole family used them.

J-girl was over the other night and heard me remind one of the littles about their word and she turned to D-man and asked if he had a word too.  We all jokingly threw ideas around for him...Self-Controlled (I am NOT wild, rowdy or disorderly  Emoji ).  Gentle....because....he had just punched/tackled A-man....moments earlier.  But, we settled on Helpful....

(He refused to pose with his card.....Emoji)

We settled on this one because although he is a hard worker and is usually willing to help .... you have to ask.  We settled on this one for him because of the catchphrase and the reminder.

I find things that need to be done and I do them.

I am NOT....selfish, lazy or unwilling to serve, and I don't have to be asked!

L-girl had a combo of:

I Am Kind (like S-girl) and I am Forgiving....which says, "I choose to love when others hurt me"...she has a tendency to retaliate and sometimes even plot a retaliation....or two....or three.

We took the We Choose Virtues cards both lightly and seriously in our family.

We joked and teased about words, but not in a mean or bullying kind of way.  Internally, we all took them very seriously.....even down to V-girl who just needed a gentle reminder about her word every now and then.  Towards the end of the review period, she was reminding me when she was being obedient.....just in case I didn't notice!  I did.

You can get your own set of Parenting Cards for $38.49.  We Choose Virtues is even having a few specials over the next few months....just enter the coupon codes in your order:

MAY-JUNE: *Promo Code BIG50 for 50% off our amazing set of 12 11x17 Kids of VirtueVille Posters! This is the first time we have ever offered these posters at this price. They are great for school classrooms, Kids Church, or your homeschool room. Kids love them for their bedrooms, bathrooms and kids’ hallways.

JUNE-AUGUST: *Promo Code BTS20 for 20% off anything in our WCV Store. This includes any kit. Let’s start School with Virtues this year!  

*Only one promo code per order

Take a look at what other TOS reviewers did with their We Choose Virtues Parenting Cards and download bundle.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Kinder Cottage Publishing - Review

This was such a sweet set of books.

These hardcover books, by Kinder Cottage Publishingwere originally written by Duff Graham for the Henry Altemus company over 90 yrs ago.

Kinder Cottage Publishing was started in 2012 by parents, Howard and Ann Closs, who wanted to make sure their four children love of their rich heritage of western civilization. The company focuses on materials such as literature, history, culture, and Christianity. 

There are ten books in this set.  I got to choose two hardcover books.

I didn't even let the kids vote.  I was selfish and picked the ones I was interested in.  I knew they wouldn't agree on two anyway, so, I picked.......

The Tale of Peter Rabbit


Peter Rabbit and Jack the Jumper

I ended up picking the first and last book in this series.

Like I said, these are absolutely sweet read aloud books for you and your kids.  They are recommended for ages 3 to 9.  They are sweet.  They are old fashioned.  They will hopefully teach your kids a few life lessons.

They are the right length for a read aloud.  You know how you inwardly groan at some of the read aloud books your kids want to read because they are too long?!?  But, feel bad if the books are too short?!?

These ones, like baby bears porridge,chair, and bed, are......just right.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit tells the story of Peter defying his mother and going and doing the very activities that got his father into an"accidental" pie on the McGregor farms.

I liked this page from The Tale of Peter Rabbit, because it reminded me of my dad. (Not the grumpy looking rabbit!)

It gave me a chance to pause the story and tell the kids a story about my dad.  When I was growing up, we didn't go out to eat much, but every now and then, after church, my dad would take a right instead of a left on our way home and we knew that we were going to Mel-O-Lanes....a little tiny diner about 10 minutes away. No matter what you ordered, your meal came with a big, old piece of parsley on the side of the plate. My dad would stick the whole thing in his mouth and eat it.  He would be greeted by rounds of, "Ewwww, gross!:  Then we would explain to him that it was only for a garnish and you weren't supposed to eat it. To which he would reply that parsley was good for you and helped your stomach digest food.  

Sometimes, we would take a teeny, tiny bite of ours before passing it down the table to him, but most of the time, we just passed it down as soon as our plate arrived.  He would end up with a whole pile of parsley to eat.

 When reading both of these books, I had to laugh at a few things....mostly inside my own head.

The first thing that made me chuckle was how much Peter reminded me of A-man.  Not necessarily "naughty" even though the author actually says Peter is a naughty rabbit.  But, just because of the scrapes and messes that he finds himself in...just because he is curious....or, to be more honest, because he isn't in the mood to listen to his mom.  Both books gave us a chance to talk about obedience and how important it is, even if your mom or dad aren't around to see what you are doing.

The second thing that made me laugh, was how different parenting was 90 years ago than it is now.  Just the fact that the mother left the kids home while she went out for the day....and they were kids, not teenagers....was shocking to my 2014 sensibilities!

Yes, I realize I am comparing parenting techniques with a mother rabbit and her bunnies and myself in 2014!  It is just that some of the little things are odd.

Another example of  2014 thinking versus 1920s thinking  that made me laugh, but in a a more sad way, was found in the book, Peter Rabbit and Jack the Jumper.  

In this book, Peter and Jack decide they don't want to stay home with Peter's sisters and decide to go out running around  (doing naughty-ish things).  While they are out doing things they shouldn't be, they run into the Hurdy Gurdy man and his pretty little girl.  

As soon as these characters showed up, I was suspicious.  What is a Hurdy Gurdy man?  Why did they feel the need to mention that the little girl was pretty?

What were they going to do?  How would Peter and his friend  get away?  Were they going to kidnap them?  Eat them?  Steal from them?  Somehow, I knew they were going to con Peter and Jack out of something.  And, why were they asking about Peter's sisters and how many he had?  Hmmmm??????

My brain was very much in 2014 when children don't talk to strangers and certainly don't share details about their family!

Ahhh, yes, I have apparently become a very jaded individual, when I look for bad guys(child molesters) in a children's book from almost 100 years ago!  

It really makes me kind of sad. 

Just like when I have to tell Rainman not to be so friendly  to other people's babies/kids at the grocery store, because I can tell it is making the parents uncomfortable because he might be a bad guy....instead of what he actually is.... a friendly guy who likes kids.    That is all.  

There are a few difficult to understand parts of the what is a Hurdy Gurdy man?  You can sort of figure it out from looking at the pictures in the book, but we looked it up to make sure.   The hurdy-gurdy is the first stringed instrument like an organ grinder would use for his monkey to dance to.  Kinder Cottage has made a few small changes to help makes things more clear for readers now, like changing the word velocipede to bicycle.  

Once I got over my uncomfortable mom in 2014 vibe, I realized just how charming these stories are.  The good news is, the Hurdy Gurdy man and his pretty little girl were good people that were very kind to Peter and Jack.

I also realized that my youngest 3 hadn't even heard of Peter Rabbit and that somehow I had missed out on reading some of the older more classic children's books to them along the way.

These are just charming, old fashioned, sweet little children's books. 

Enjoying these books has nothing to do with whether you homeschool or not.  They are just nice, innocent little children's books.  

They would be a great gift for a new mom. They would be great for your own kids.....especially, if you have skipped some of the more classic books with them, like I apparently have.  They would great for grandparents to have for when grandkids come to visit.  I am sure it would spark some stories of the "olden days" as they read along.  

If you buy the books individually, they are $4.00 each, or you can get the entire 10 book set for $30.00

Take a look at what other TOS Reviewers thought of these sweet little books.  

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

New House Stuff

I haven't posted about our new house in awhile.

Partly because I haven't been in the mood to do much around here lately.

Partly because I was having a hard time making up my mind about what to do.

But, I have made a few decisions and once I make a decision, look out.  I was done in 24 hours!

It helped that there was a deadline for a paint rebate from Lowe's too.

Our house looked very classy on the outside.

Classy.....but, sort of boring.  And, honestly, while I am not exactly "unclassy" or uncouth....I don't really consider myself classy.  It didn't really seem like me.

The house is tan, with black shutters and a black front door.

I did not want to deal with painting the shutters, so I started looking around Pinterest for homes that had dark shutters and painted their front door a different color.

I founds lots and lots of, I started picking out paint chips.  I had the kids vote, then vote again, when I changed my mind about which direction I wanted to go.

I was thinking yellow because of this door that is next to D-man's school.

(I have a slightly better, less fuzzy, picture of the house, but, since we totally did reaaaaaallly slow and stalkerish, by their house and take a picture thingie....D-man got me trying to keep my face out of the shot face...which gave me a reaaaaaaalllly bad double, you get the slightly fuzzy version and can keep your sugar coated version of what I look like....which is...... that I have no double chin.  Right? Right?)

But, then I started looking at yellow paint chips and A-girl and L-girl reminded me of how much yellow I already have in the new house.  Boring.  So I started looking at raspberry pinks and oranges.  I found some really pretty ones......

(via carolyn morrison on Pinterest)

Or this...

Orange Front Doore Benjamin Moore - Buttered Yam  This would be beautiful with some plush green plants at the door

Or this....

stone accented by red door
To be fair, I might have liked the shape of this door and the stone work more than the orange color.  (via Hamilton Building)

But, I kept coming back to yellow.....

Love the yellow door offset by the black shutters. Check out the colorful brickwork!
(via Bob Vila  )

It is just so happy and sunny, you know?

I was going to go with yellow.

Until, I saw this.....

playing around with the idea of an aqua door with black shutters

Yes, the house is gray, not tan...but the shutters are black...there are brick stairs...and white is there as an accent.  I like.

So, are you ready for the result?

I went from this:

I know....the reflection is bad....maybe this one will show it better..

To this:

Isn't it fun and happy?

I will admit that once I was done, I had a few days where I thought I had made a huge mistake.  I drove creepy slow whenever I was coming or going and just stared at my door.....and thought.....oh no....I don't love it.

But, now, after I have lived with it for a week or so.....I love it.  It makes me happy.  It truly is more of a reflection of what is really happening behind that front door than the classy black was.

It makes me happy from the inside too...

Our neighbor boys, 5 and 3, love it too.  More, accurately, the  5 year old said, "Hey, did you paint your door blue?  I like it."  And, the 3 year old said, "I wuv your blue door!"

I finally made a decision on my hall bathroom and am still working through possible scenarios for my kitchen island.  I will show you what I have soon.